Café au lait

Café au lait
Café au lait as being served in Oslo, Norway; espresso + steamed milk, served in a bowl.

Café au lait (French pronunciation: [kafe o lɛ] "coffee with milk") is a French coffee drink. The meaning of the term differs between Europe and the United States; in both cases it means some kind of coffee with hot milk added, in contrast to white coffee, which is coffee with room temperature milk or other whitener added.

Contents

Usage

Europe

In Europe, "café au lait" stems from the same continental tradition as "café con leche" in Spain, "kawa biała" ("white coffee") in Poland, "Milchkaffee" ("milk coffee") in Germany, "koffie verkeerd" ("wrong coffee") in The Netherlands, and "café com leite" ("coffee with milk") in Portugal. In northern Europe, café au lait is the name most often used in coffee shops.

At home, café au lait can be prepared from dark coffee and heated milk; in cafés, it has been prepared on espresso machines from espresso and steamed milk ever since these machines became available in the 1940s – thus it refers to the usual "coffee + milk" combination, depending on the location, not to a specific drink.

"Café au lait" and "caffè latte" are used as contrasting terms, to indicate whether the beverage is served in the "French" or the "Italian" way – the former being in a white porcelain cup or bowl, the latter in a kitchen glass and always made from an espresso machine, whereas "Café au lait" might be espresso or dark coffee based.

American

Cafe au lait bowls in a style traditionally used in France.

In many American coffeehouses, a "café au lait" is a drink of strong drip brewed or French pressed coffee, to which steamed milk is added; this contrasts with a "caffè latte", which uses espresso as a base. American café au lait is generally served in a cup, as with brewed coffee, being served in a bowl only at shops which wish to emphasize French tradition.

The term misto (literally, "mixed") is also used to refer to a café au lait, most notably by Starbucks.[1]

New Orleans style

Café au lait in New Orleans has been popularized contemporarily in part by Café du Monde. There, it is made with milk and coffee mixed with chicory, giving it a strong, bitter taste. Unlike the European café style, a New Orleans café au lait is made with scalded milk -- milk warmed over heat to just below boiling -- rather than steamed milk.[2] Inclusion of roasted chicory root as an extender in coffee became common in colonial Louisiana, and eventually was incorporated as a regular coffee additive. The bitterness of the chicory offsets the sweetness of the powdered-sugar-covered beignets, a common accompaniment.

Other uses of term

In medicine, "café au lait spots" are the discolored birthmark-like spots on a patient's skin that may be indicative of neurofibromatosis or other conditions.[citation needed]

See also

References


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • café-au-lait — ● café au lait adjectif invariable Brun clair. ● café au lait (difficultés) adjectif invariable Orthographe Traits d union pour la couleur (une peau café au lait), pas de trait d union pour la boisson (boire un café au lait). Plur. : des peaux… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • cafe au lait — 1763, from Fr. café au lait, lit. coffee with milk, from lait milk (12c.), from V.L. lactis, from L. lactis (see LACTATION (Cf. lactation)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • Café au lait — ● Café au lait café noir additionné de lait …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Café au Lait — [kafeo lɛ ], der; , s <französisch> (Milchkaffee) …   Die deutsche Rechtschreibung

  • café au lait — [ka fā΄ō lā′] n. [Fr] 1. a drink made by mixing coffee with an equal part of hot or scalded milk 2. pale brown …   English World dictionary

  • Café au lait — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Café au lait (cheval). Café au lait Le café au lait est une boisson chaude réalisée à partir de café et de lait …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cafe au lait — Milchkaffee ist ein Kaffee mit einem hohen Anteil Milch, der in verschiedenen Ländern vor allem morgens getrunken wird. Er wird in Österreich und in den Niederlanden auch als Kaffee verkehrt (koffie verkeerd) bezeichnet. In der Schweiz wird er –… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Café au lait — Milchkaffee ist ein Kaffee mit einem hohen Anteil Milch, der in verschiedenen Ländern vor allem morgens getrunken wird. Er wird in Österreich und in den Niederlanden auch als Kaffee verkehrt (koffie verkeerd) bezeichnet. In der Schweiz wird er –… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • cafe au lait — [ˌkafeɪ əʊ leɪ, ˌkafɪ] noun 1》 coffee with milk. 2》 a light brown colour. Origin from Fr. café au lait …   English new terms dictionary

  • Café au Lait — Ca|fé au Lait [kafeo lɛ ], der; , s [… lɛ] [frz., au lait = mit Milch]: Milchkaffee …   Universal-Lexikon

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